Blockbuster tests Games By Mail service

It is no secret that Blockbuster’s earnings have been on a downward slope. While loss of market share to services such as Netflix and redbox have had an impact on their movie rental business, GameFly has been similarly damaging on the game rental side. 

In response, Joystiq reports that Blockbuster has launched a test-run of its own “Games By Mail” service which will offer current Blockbuster Online subscribers the ability to have one game out at a time for $7.99 a month. This will be an additional cost on top of the regular online plan pricing, and game rentals will also count towards the base plan’s maximum disc per month and out-at-a-time limits. Fortunately, if no games are rented during a given billing period, the extra game rental plan price will not be charged.

This initial trial offers “over 3000 different games, including many popular new releases," and is currently available in the Cleveland, Ohio area with “plans to expand this nationwide before the end of the year.” These and other details can be found on Blockbuster's Games By Mail FAQ.

Blockbuster’s new approach is one that is long overdue and they find themselves going up against at least one entrenched opponent. One competitor that they won’t have to worry about is Netflix; VP Corp. Communications for Netflix, Steve Swasey, said via The Consumerist, "Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?" He may have a point.

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25 Comments

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They had a chance to do this so long ago and decided not to. They could have been on top of the game-by-mail scene but they waited too long for some unknown reason. Too little WAY too late.

How about giving something back to your customers? Another fee? Why I already pay you $18 a month. Netflix gave us free streaming. Everywhere you turn it seems Blockbuster is trying to charge you for something. Their online members site is flooded with links to purchase movies to the point where it's difficult to find the functions you already paid for. I say their time is coming to an end.

Blockbuster is very close to being delisted off the New York Stock Exchange.
They HAVE to do something to compete with Netflix but they may of missed the boat.

BB failed because they are overpriced. My wife and i use netflix, and both the movies we get and the ability to stream it through my 360, i dont think they stand a chance.

That and their shady "no late fees" to oh btw you now have to pay the retail price + more.

BB = Fail. Netflix > BB

"Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?"

love this comments.. actually he made a point.

still1 said,
"Movies are perennial. A great movie from 1972 is still a great movie but who wants to play Madden '95?"

love this comments.. actually he made a point.

Sports games don't age well but outside of that genre most games from the 90s are funner than the crap that's published today.

Osirus23 said,

Sports games don't age well but outside of that genre most games from the 90s are funner than the crap that's published today.

Because most of us still have our consoles from the 90's? Its cheaper to buy the games used then it is to rent them... Blame the video game industry for taxing games so hard. The more they sell, the higher the price of video games went...

If BB had been smart, they would abandon "brick and mortar" business and go exclusively on-line. That is the only way I see them surviving.

With instant movie rental right from your living room, no one in their right mind would drive to a video place, pray the movie is there, pay, drive home watch it (pray the disc has no scratch), drive back...and possibly pay a late fee.

BB fell behind the power curve and deserves to fail.

Rohdekill said,
If BB had been smart, they would abandon "brick and mortar" business and go exclusively on-line. That is the only way I see them surviving.

I suggest you get your vision checked. As an avid gamer, I love that I have a blockbuster in my home town. I live in a small city of about 38,000 people. As such it is possible to drive anywhere in town within 10 minutes. They are now the only brick and mortar rental shop in my town. The blockbuster love movies and games, and I've come to rely upon their opinions when making rental/purchasing decisions.

Also, how am i supposed to make illegal copies of movies from instant download? Also if you don't let your fingers do the walking and call to check stock, then you're a fool. Plus Blockbuster has not had late fees for over 3 years now. Oh sure they have a 'restocking fee' which amounts to $0.07CDN/day.

I would rather have this than the increased carbon emissions from lugging additonal weight from all of the rentals from some centralized shipping center.

Plus the high school kids in my hometown would have one less employment option.

Rohdekill said,
If BB had been smart, they would abandon "brick and mortar" business and go exclusively on-line. That is the only way I see them surviving.

With instant movie rental right from your living room, no one in their right mind would drive to a video place, pray the movie is there, pay, drive home watch it (pray the disc has no scratch), drive back...and possibly pay a late fee.

BB fell behind the power curve and deserves to fail.

Harsh but true... For years even before netflix and gamefly I used to say how Blockbuster should be doing it on the internet... You snooze, you lose

dotf said,

I suggest you get your vision checked. As an avid gamer, I love that I have a blockbuster in my home town. I live in a small city of about 38,000 people. As such it is possible to drive anywhere in town within 10 minutes. They are now the only brick and mortar rental shop in my town. The blockbuster love movies and games, and I've come to rely upon their opinions when making rental/purchasing decisions.

Also, how am i supposed to make illegal copies of movies from instant download? Also if you don't let your fingers do the walking and call to check stock, then you're a fool. Plus Blockbuster has not had late fees for over 3 years now. Oh sure they have a 'restocking fee' which amounts to $0.07CDN/day.

I would rather have this than the increased carbon emissions from lugging additonal weight from all of the rentals from some centralized shipping center.

Plus the high school kids in my hometown would have one less employment option.

1. Instant rental from cable on-demand channel + tv capture card = ??? come on, guess

2. I live in a larger town. There's over a dozen of these stores in my immediate area. 99.9% of the time the only car there is the poor sap working there. The rental on new movies is (there) is basically the same price as it is on tv on demand.

3. Carbon emmissions decrease if they are online only. First, the postal carrier wastes the same fuel if you have mail or not as they drive the entire route, even if less than half have mail (they need to check for pickup from everyone). But your driving to/from the rental store only adds to the problem. Not to mention when I did rent from them, I ended up making double trips because the disc was in such bad condition it wouldn't play. And, I never said anything about them shipping out a disc.

4. You can get the same or better "opinion" about a game/movie from global sources (internet) than some shlup in your town making minimum wage.

5. Consolidating saves money. The consumer doesn't see the savings as immediate, but the reduced inflation/price increase reflects the savings.

I'll give you the late fee...or as they renamed it, restocking fee.

Think of Steam...for movies & games. That was my definition of on-line only.

Edited by Rohdekill, Apr 13 2010, 12:19am :

dotf said,
I live in a small city of about 38,000 people.
For the record, your city is in no way small. My town has approx 650 people in it.

Quick Shot said,
What's blockbuster? I want west coast video back with its adult only section

Blockbuster is the biggest UK chain of dvd rental stores.

Max said,
Blockbuster is the biggest UK chain of dvd rental stores.
There's actually a Blockbuster 15 minutes from my house; I'm in Mass.

Not into the game scene, but this doesn't sound to bad. Guess those of you into the games will have a different opinion.